When Sharing Is Contagious
share“Share with brother and someday brother will share with you” simply has to be my favorite part of Steven Layne’s newcomer Share With Brother.  Being the elder of sister siblings, I can totally relate to being told to share; after having spent a wonderful week together just the two of us, now grown, this story completely pulled at my heartstrings.  It was supposed to be fun to get a bunny brother, but the pesky younger sibling is there at every turn, even when big brother’s friends come to play, begging to get in on the action. The older bunny (that’s me!) is being told to share with his baby brother (or sister!) over and over again.  Is it too much to ask to be left alone?  When the little one gets sick, the big brother runs to his rescue, and the reader finds out, in a clever twist, that sharing can be contagious in more ways than one!

This simple story packs a powerful punch in that it’s not only a lesson in sharing, an important part of the fairness pillar, but also a reminder to help children experience empathy by treating others the way they’d like to be treated.  I just recently learned about how critical elevating experiences can be for children (and adults!) during Michele Borba‘s keynote entitled From Cruelty to Compassion.  The older sibling has an elevating experience when his baby brother gets sick, prompting him to race in to help.  This can be a great springboard for questions like, “Why did the older sibling want to help his little brother?” or “What would you have done if you were the big brother?”  They could even speculate on the future of the relationship:  What will happen with the siblings when they both get better?  Let students share their stories about siblings before you ask them to brainstorm ways to help people and cheer them up when they’re sick.  Then make Get Well or Thinking Of You cards, take them to your local Pharmacy, and ask the Pharmacist to attach the cards to the prescriptions that they fill that day.


martha-shareFor young children, MINE! is an important word. You’ve probably witnessed it a myriad of times. He locks onto a favorite toy, and he isn’t letting go. As students develop and mature, this concept of taking turns with and sharing their stuff gets a bit easier, but I know some adults who still have trouble sharing. Counselor Roxanne Davidson recently reviewed three illustrated picture books that do a great job of exploring this issue and tackling solutions. Click here to see what she has to say about these titles that teach children to share.

One Band, One Sound

here’s a classic character clip in the 2002 movie Drumline in which a recruit shows up late for practice and the director asks his roommate why he was late. Having no idea why his roommate is late, the boy essentially responds that he’s not his roommate’s mother. The director, then, reminds his band of their motto – One Band, One Sound – and asks for ten laps from every one who is not their roommate’s mother. Show that clip, then consider the following questions:

What is fairness? How do you know when something is unfair? Is group punishment fair? Why or why not? Does being fair mean you always treat people equally? Explain your answer. Can you think of an example where it might be fair to give someone an extra advantage? Is it necessary to walk in someone’s shoes before you decide what is fair? Why? Was it fair to make the boy whose roommate arrived late run laps? What is a fair way to hold one another accountable for team standards or vision? Have you ever been punished in a way you felt was unfair? What was unfair about it? What did you do about it?

Taking A Stand

sit-inIn Sit In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down, Andrea Davis Pinkney’s portrayal of the Greensboro Four of 1960 finds four teenaged boys – David, Joseph, Franklin, and Ezell – sitting quietly at the counter waiting for food but obviously being ignored.

Peaceful and polite, they weren’t breaking any laws. In fact, they even used manners when they ordered their coffee and donuts with “cream on the side” at a Whites-Only restaurant. Segregation laws kept them from being served. Sit-ins were significant to the Civil Rights Movement, but many of them resulted in cruel, violent acts.  Not this one.  These four boys remembered Dr. King’s message:  We must meet violence with nonviolence.

The ten-step “recipe for integration,” and a Civil Rights Timeline, a photograph of the Greensboro Four in Woolworth’s, a more in-depth look at the incident and the times, and book and website resource recommendations at the end of the book serve as a bonus for today’s students, who might have trouble relating to the concept of segregation.

My son led a sit-in as part of his sixth-grade Social Studies class at Bales Intermediate a few years ago.  It was empowering, because not only did he feel listened to, but he also felt heard.  I remember him coming home that day convinced that the Principal was going to make the changes that he and his friends had peacefully negotiated.  Why not use this book as a springboard to talk with your students about the Civil Rights Movement as well as about socially acceptable ways to bring about changes to injustices that they experience in their world today.